Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Jennifer Li Shotz
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Just as Ben hits a home run in his game, his dad is called away to a serious police case with escaped prisoners on the loose. When Ben's dad ends up missing, with only a ping on his phone to indicate where he might be, Ben and his retired search-and-rescue dog, Hero, decide to try to find him. Hero is the best search-and-rescue dog there ever was. Ben encounters some trouble including a snake bite, an overnight stay in the hospital, and later capture by the same criminals holding his dad hostage. Along the way, Ben meets another boy, Tucker, who has some savvy skills (knows the woods, can hit anything with his slingshot) and ends up helping Ben. After finding Ben's dad, the two kids end up being able to prevent the criminals from robbing and hurting Tucker's family.
This is a fast read and great for kids age eight to twelve. The premise is good: a son loves his dad and wants to do all he can to help him out of a bad situation. It's a little bit illogical. Ben and his dog find his dad when the entire police force can't? Adults will have trouble with the logistics of the hunt, but children will probably skip over and enjoy the story. It's a great book for showing the value of family relationships; the value of meeting and helping strangers who you recognize are in trouble; and the value of courage and determination. Somewhat reminiscent of the Hardy Boys books of past years.
*Contains mild violence.